Rotation Options: De La Rosa, Correia, Millwood

Correia could be one of the best values on the free agent market.

Yesterday MLBTR released their list of the top 50 free agents, with Tim Dierkes predicting that the Pittsburgh Pirates would sign Hiroki Kuroda.  Today, the rest of the MLBTR writers add their thoughts and predictions on the top 50 free agents, with the Pirates linked to a few more pitchers.

Steve Adams predicts that the Pirates will sign Jorge de la Rosa.

Mark Polishuk predicts that the Pirates will sign Kevin Millwood and Kevin Correia.

Ben Nicholson-Smith also predicts that the Pirates will sign Correia.

My thoughts on each player:

De La Rosa: There’s no way the Pirates sign de la Rosa.  This is similar to the Adrian Beltre talk, only there’s no rumor that the Pirates have talked to de la Rosa.  Cliff Lee will be the top starting pitching option on the market.  Everyone who loses out on Lee will turn their attention to De La Rosa, which means he’s unlikely to sign with the Pirates (unless they drastically overpay).  De La Rosa is also a Type A free agent, which means the Pirates would lose their second round pick.  That’s not a bad thing if they sign him long enough, but I don’t see them signing him at all.

Millwood: I’m not a fan of Millwood.  He turns 36 in December, and hasn’t had the best numbers over the last few years, outside of a surprise season with Texas in 2009, which he failed to replicate in 2010 with Baltimore.  He made $12 M in 2010, although that was a contract that was signed in December 2005, following a season in which he posted a 2.86 ERA in 192 innings for Cleveland.  Since then he’s put up a 4.67 ERA in 945.2 innings, with a 6.3 K/9, a 2.9 BB/9, and a 1.1 HR/9 ratio.  He might not cost $12 M, but he probably will cost $8-10 M.  I’d rather go with other options, such as Kuroda, or even Justin Duchscherer, who the Pirates have expressed interest in.  Or there’s this guy:

Correia: I’m a big fan of Correia.  In fact, this marks the third off-season in a row that I’ve wanted the Pirates to add the 30 year old starter, as he was a free agent in 2008, and was surrounded by non-tender rumors in 2009.  Correia is a year removed from a strong season in the San Diego rotation, which saw him put up a 3.91 ERA in 198 innings, along with a 6.5 K/9, a 2.9 BB/9, and a 0.8 HR/9.  He struggled in 2010, with a 5.40 ERA in 145 innings, along with increased walk and home run ratios.  He managed a lot of ground balls (48.9%), and had a 4.19 xFIP, which was similar to his 2009 number (4.20).  The Pirates could get him for a multi-year deal, and probably wouldn’t break the bank, as he only made $3.6 M in his final arbitration year following his 2009 season, and based on his 2010 season, might not cost much more than $5 M a season.  I see him as one of the best values on the free agent market when it comes to starting pitchers.

Overall I’d say ‘no’ to Millwood, ‘no chance’ to de la Rosa, and ‘yes’ to Correia.

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • Anonymous

    I’m a little curious as to why you’re such a big fan of Correia? The numbers here suggest that he’s only a slightly better, slightly older version of Zach Duke, who also is a big ground ball pitcher who had a good season in 2009 and a horrible 2010.

    • Tim Williams

      There’s really only three things a pitcher has complete control over: strikeouts, walks, and home runs. When I’m looking at pitchers, I consider all factors, but I weigh those three the heaviest. I’m generally looking for a 6.0 K/9 or better, 3.0 BB/9 or lower, and a 1.0 HR/9 or lower.

      As a former fantasy baseball analyst, I probably favor Correia more than Duke because of the strikeout numbers, and because he serves as a sleeper pitching target. That said, I do think Correia is better than Duke. Not a top of the rotation guy at all, but a reliable #4 guy, and a guy who won’t be expensive. I think Correia is the same as Millwood, possibly at less than half the price.

  • Anonymous

    For some reason (I haven’t checked I’m thinking Correia doesn’t pitch deep into games). His ’09 season doesn’t verify that and maybe I’m completely wrong. Hope so!

    What’s your opinion on signing both Correia and McCarthy (or Andrew Miller)?

    LA’s Loney doesn’t seem to be held in the highest regards this offseason. What would it take to get him before he’s non tendered (if he actually is)? Same with JJ hardy.

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